Valentine's dread - tips for liberation

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Valentine's dread - tips for liberation

What does the ‘V’ Day mean for a lot of men?

A lot of men feel pressured by Valentine’s Day. To start with, most men don’t like to be told what to do, or to be expected to do things when they don’t feel like doing them! So what is it about Valentine’s Day that seems to create the pressures or burdens that men face getting closer to the day?

Is it that Valentine’s Day has become so commercialized nowadays that men feel the pressure or obligation to purchase something in order to get off the hook? Or to show that lavish attention to their loved ones?

Sales on Valentine’s Day generate a billion dollar revenue every year. So is it possible we have missed the point here, and made this day about what we have to purchase and not about truly appreciating and honouring our relationships?

For some, the expectations and anticipations of their partner will create a level of tension that most men will not like to feel, and so, in an effort to protect themselves from not wanting to feel controlled or manipulated, men will go out of their way to make sure the Valentine’s day gift is significant or at least that there is some sort of celebration of the day.

I remember years ago, with my previous partner, I decided to buy a small cactus for Valentine’s day – only to find myself in an ugly situation as the disappointment and frustration from my partner over the present ‘just being a cactus’ became too much to deal with. In the end, to keep the peace, and against my will, I ended having to go out and buy some rather expensive present that I knew was going to settle things and let me ‘off the hook’ – and it did!

Some men also feel the pressure about what ‘to do’ on Valentines, but this can be out of feeling guilty about not being loving with their partners, and so take this one opportunity of the year to show signs of romanticism to make up for the lack of love and intimacy in their relationships – creating angst and resentment for having to do something that has no true intention, but having to go and get the present in order to get relief.

In the case of being single, there could also be the pressure, stress or shame of having to find someone to give you a Valentine gift so that you don’t feel like a reject that nobody wants.

So could it be that, as men, we are taking the wrong approach to this day? What if we actually don’t have to have just one day of the year to celebrate and appreciate our relationships? If this were the case, what could men do in order to avoid all these feelings of burdens and tensions that are built around this day?

Here are some tips for men to make sure they can overcome this:

  1. Express more with your partner — talk about what this day means to you and how you both can make it something really memorable… By both of you expressing, it might be that you don’t have to do anything extravagant but it can be something as simple as a picnic or a favourite movie together.

  2. Make every day Valentine’s day, don’t wait for the one day of the year to start appreciating and showing that you care and love the other person just for who they are. It can be in the simple things – a text message telling your partner how lovely and sexy they are, or leaving them a note telling them how much they mean to you.

  3. Don’t make it about just the one person, but start celebrating all of your relationships, such as your parents and siblings. If you are single (or in a relationship) then you could focus on celebrating your relationships with your friends, co-workers, people that you interact with on a regular basis such as shop assistants, barbers, or your mechanic.

  4. Understand that your love is not measured by money, presents or dinners. The love that you share with others is measured by how much of yourself you bring into the relationship, by how much are you able to express your feelings and how willing you are to embrace the vulnerability and let others see this.

  5. Learn to love and appreciate yourself more – by doing this you will know that not much has to be done. If you love and care for yourself, you are giving that to the other person just by being yourself. Caring for yourself can be something such as having regular massages, having a nurturing bath, or just looking after your body with exercise, food and sleep.

So men, it is important to know that we don’t have to go through all this trouble for just one day. There are many things we can do to change this ‘norm’ that has become so ‘normal’ in our society.

And, in doing that we can start to celebrate every day the awesome relationships that we have with others and ourselves.

Filed under

EmpowermentAppreciationLoveValentine's DayConnectionFeelings

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    By Francisco Clara, Massage Therapist, Practitioner of Universal Medicine Therapies, EPA Accredited

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    Photography: Alan Johnston, Photographer

    I have studied Social Documentary Photography. Lots of life experience throughout which I have kept a keen sense of humour.